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The Art of the Fix

Posted by Emma Baron on

Song of the Week - Fix You by Coldplay

Because we all know how dramatic musicians are... most songs about mending tend to be about mending a broken heart. This song also falls into that category, but we're spinning it this week to kick off our issue on the art of repairing. When the tears come streaming down your face 'cause you lose something you can't replace, cheer up, we're here to tell you that you can fix it.
Above: Darning Sampler, 1836, Cooper Hewitt gallery

The Long Form - The Art of the Fix

Does crafting just feel like a series of fads for you? You went through that jewellery making phase, and still have the beads in a box in the closet. You started knitting one chilly fall day, and now grandma sends you yarn of all shapes and sizes for every birthday and gift-giving occasion?  You  thought carving seemed like a bad-ass activity, but you just cut yourself a bunch of times and got tired of losing blood?

Maybe then, it's time for you to evolve the way you look at crafts. Perhaps it will never be your calling to knit sartorial sweaters that grace the runways of London, or construct twelve foot live-edge mahogany tables that command the dining rooms of your customers' modern villas in Tuscany, but we can assure you that you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in the 20 minutes that it takes to darn a sock. You don't have to consider yourself a creator to be a fixer.

Mending is a humble art. It takes some patience and skill to renew an old object with your hands and some love. In some cultures and practices, mended objects become even more precious and special than the original.

Take the Japanese art of Kintsugi, for example: this tradition emphasizes the flaws in broken pottery with a gold-dusted adhesive that rejoins the pieces to make it functional again. There's a bit of Japanese philosophical flavour to kintsugi: 'wabi-sabi' is the concept of appreciating the aesthetics of imperfect or flawed things. This practice is said to date back to the 15th century, and was popular both as a means of repair and as decorative choice by the 17th century.

I had watched my mum darn my dad's socks as a kit, and I always found it to be one of the most magical crafts. What do you mean, you can take socks with holes and make them new again?! What kind of witchcraft... Actually, it turns out it's fairly easy. Almost like drawing in-side the lines, but with yarn: stitch around the outside of the hole; make some horizontal lines across the hole; then weave another set of vertical lines through the horizontal lines you just created. Fixed.

Somehow the art of mending took on a sort of dingy hue with the expanse of global commerce and the rise of anything-you-want-at-your-fingertips kind of shopping, but it isn't dead. In fact, it continues to evolve with the times. Repair cafes - where you can rewire that broken blender or build your own bike from spare parts - are popping up in cities across the country, as are tool rental libraries. Something to think about as you're looking for activities during your January hibernation phase. 
The News: Wiarton Bongspiel returns bigger, better, and smoother

You read that right: BONGspiel, from the town that also serves up Wiaton Willy, one of Canada's official Groundhog Day groundhogs. Genius, we love it. According to organizers: "we received so much attention last year we attracted a group of really curling-oriented people from a broader spectrum.” If Bill Murray were ever to secretly assemble a crack team of curling pros, you know this would be where to find them. The best part is that this event also includes an outdoor home-grow competition, where growers bring in their best crops of the season for a show-down. This is Canadiana at its finest! 
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The Social Calendar
  • Toronto, ON: High Park Club Budspiel presented by the Womens' Section at the High Park Club on Saturday, January 25th from 8:30 - 4:00pm - SOLD OUT (but how cool is this?!!)
  • St. John's, NL: Intro to Self Publishing by OOPS NL Podcast at The Lantern House on Wednesday, January 29th from 6:00 - 9:30pm
  • Laval, QC: Le Portrait à Domicile avec Olympus at Gossard Photo on Saturday, January 25th from 10:30am - 12:30pm
  • Victoria, BC: Macramé Plant Hanger workshop by Oaklands Community Association at Oaklands Neighbourhood House on Saturday, January 25th from 7:00 - 8:30pm
  • Regina, SK: Hanging Garden: Japanese Moss Balls by Inner Gardens Studio on Thursday, January 30th from 7:00 - 9:00pm
High Art

Take a few moments to put your work down and enjoy a little daydream fodder...

Nature in Newfoundland

A 30 second time lapse video of the snow in St. John's, Newfoundland last weekend...

Take the Bait 
'A Fieldguide to Roadside Flowers at Full Speed' by Chris Hezler

The world desperately needs a guide that illustrates and identifies characteristics of wildflowers as most people actually experience them. This is that guide.

Take the Bait 
Codedoodl.es by Various Artists

Get lost in thousands of interactive digital doodles. 

Take the Bait 
Have you tried any of the cannabis 2.0 products that are finally hitting stores? We've tried a couple Pax era cartridges that were ok and very bad, respectively... but no edibles yet. Any winners out there?


- Emma & Carol
Milkweed website

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